Four years ago, Pearl River defeated Beacon for the 2008 Section 1 Class A championship.
Christa Scognamiglio, Nicole Grossbard and Kerry Sullivan were members of the varsity as eighth graders that year, with Scognamiglio scoring 11 points in the title game.
One year ago, those three were all starters for the Pirates as they lost to Peekskill in the Class A championship game. All three figured to have one last shot as seniors this season, with a veteran Pirates team likely to be the favorites in Class A.
Last August, that task became much more difficult when Grossbard suffered a knee injury that sidelined her for the season, but the Pirates have not let that stop them so far.
Tomorrow night, the Pirates will pursue that one last chance with her in street clothes when Pearl River plays rival Tappan Zee for the section championship 5 p.m. at the Westchester County Center.
"They wanted another shot," Pearl River Head Coach Lorraine Moylan said. "They got another shot."
"It's really a great feeling," Scognamiglio said moments after Pearl River beat Albertus Magnus in the semifinals. "It's my last year, so I'm really excited, especially since we are playing one of our rivals."
Tappan Zee's story is very different. They had not been to the County Center before, much less the championship game, though they have plenty of players who are taking their last shot as well. Four of the five Tappan Zee starters are seniors.
"We've been waiting for this for a long time," said Tappan Zee senior guard Erica Richards.
Pearl River and Tappan Zee split their two regular-season meetings, each team winning by three points in the opponent's home gym.
"It is always such a fun game," junior point guard Marissa Scognamiglio said. "We're pretty even teams."
Tappan Zee features one thing Pearl River lacks with its size, including the imposing inside duo of seniors Devona Paul and Val DiMuro. They also have a standout point guard in senior Regina Argenzio and two dangerous guards on the wing in Richards and sophomore Kristen McLaughlin.
"They're awesome," Moylan said. "They are a very good team. They have the bigs and the guards. We will do what we do. We will play hard, play good defense and see what happens."
That is what Pearl River did in its 56-53 victory at Tappan Zee Feb. 6. That, and senior guard Allison Cook set what was then a career high with five 3-pointers and 23 points.
Pearl River's offense revolves around Christa Scognamiglio, who averages nearly 18 points per game and arguably brings the most complete game of any player who will be on the floor Friday. Cook, Marissa Scognamiglio, senior forwards Sullivan and Christy Carty and top reserve Amanda DeCourcey have all provided scoring threats at times, but the Pirates rely heavily on their press to create turnovers that lead to points.
Pearl River was able to keep Tappan Zee from running its set offense in the game Feb. 6, something that will be a key again Sunday.
So who will win?
Albertus Magnus Head Coach Pat Buckley might be in as good of a position as anybody to answer that. His Falcons were the only other team to beat Tappan Zee this season, splitting two games with the Dutchies. Pearl River beat Albertus Magnus three times this season, including Thursday's 53-43 win in the semifinals.
"It's going to be a great game," Buckley said. "They are both different. TZ has two bigs. They have a lot of pieces. They've got a girl who can guard anybody. Kristen McLaughlin, as a sophomore, is a great defensive player.
"Pearl River is not going to be scared of anybody. They keep coming. They are relentless. They've been coming here since eighth grade. Either team can win it. It's good that there will be a Rockland County champion. I'm happy for that."